Mock thoughts: Offense or defense?

January, 30, 2013
1/30/13
2:15
PM ET
After the Patriots led the NFL in scoring during the 2012 season, some might not agree with the idea that they need to look to the offensive side of the ball with their top pick in the forthcoming NFL draft.

But with a potentially depleted receiving corps entering next season (Wes Welker, Julian Edelman and Deion Branch are among the team's free agents at the position), there could be a need to upgrade at wide receiver this offseason.

Dane Brugler of CBSSports.com has released his latest mock draft, which has the Patriots taking wide receiver Tavon Austin out of West Virginia, the same player ESPN's Todd McShay pegged for the Patriots in his initial mock draft.

While not big in stature (5-9, 174), Austin had off-the-charts production last season, finishing with more than 1,900 yards of total offense, including 114 catches and 72 rushes in West Virginia's high octane offense.

Brugler's colleague, Rob Rang, posted his own latest mock, and has defense in mind for the Patriots.

Rang slotted Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro for the Patriots at pick 29, and he would presumably be a complement to Devin McCourty (should he stay at safety going forward). At 6-foot-1 and 218 pounds, Vaccaro has good size for the position, and had four games with 10 or more tackles last season to go along with a pair of interceptions.

To see both mocks in their entirety, CLICK HERE.
Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.

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